A grenade attack at the proposed site of the 1,200-MW Hutgyi hydroelectric project in Myanmar killed a worker from neighboring Thailand and forced others to flee, officials said.
The Thai army reported a surveyor was killed September 2 by one of two grenades thrown into a worker’s camp in Karen State, where the Karen National Union has waged a guerrilla war against the Myanmar government. Myanmar troops escorted 42 employees of Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (EGAT) to Mae Sot on the Thai border September 3, an officer said.
The victim was the second EGAT employee killed in 17 months since construction of Hutgyi began on the Salween, or Thanlwin, River amid opposition from environmentalists and ethnic groups. Environmental groups have urged Thailand to halt construction of five dams totaling 14,700 MW until the environmental effects are properly assessed.
In 2005, Thailand and Myanmar agreed on a joint venture to build Hutgyi. At that time, EGAT said it planned to build at least five dams on the Salween. For a time last year, a new Thailand government installed by military coup put off development of the Salween projects.
In April, China’s Farsighted Investment Group Co. Ltd. and Gold Water Resources Co. Ltd. signed an agreement with the government of Myanmar to build the 2,400-MW Upper Thanlwin project on the Salween in Myanmar. (HNN 4/17/07) The previous December, Chinese and Myanmar officials signed agreements to develop three other hydroelectric projects in Myanmar, 2,000-MW Chibwe on the Maykha River, 3,600-MW Ayeyawady on the Maykha and Ayeyawady rivers, and the 600-MW Shweli River project on the Shweli.
Myanmar and Thai developer MDX Group also recently began construction on the Salween of the 7,110-MW Ta Sang hydroelectric project.